Thursday, January 29, 2009

Battered Volvo Sailors Arrive in China

Telefonica Blue on its arrival in Qingdao. Photo from www.volvooceanrace.org



Well Telefonica Blue made it into Qingdao in first place and in one piece. In the words of Bouwe Bekking ''I won't forget that in a hurry''.
This leg of the race has turned out to be pretty hellish in every sort of way and most of the boats are literally limping back into port. This piece of writing taken off the website kind of sums it all up - it refers to Puma's Ken Read:

''His boom had snapped, his left index finger was mangled, but you could not wipe the smile off Ken Read’s face after the conclusion of a remarkable journey from Singapore to China.''




Read the full updated news on www.volvooceanrace.org

Monday, January 26, 2009

VOR 2008-09: Ericsson 4 win Singapore in-port race

VOR inport racing Singapore

VOR 2008-2009: Teams depart Singapore for the start of Leg 4

Some interesting info re the Volvo Ocean Race. These guys knew what was ahead on leg 4!

Volvo Ocean Racers Having a Tough Time


The above graph gives the various speeds of the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race during the past 12 to 24 hours. They are having pretty gnarly weather and this fourth leg is proving to be a really tough one. Green Dragon had to go into Salonague Bay to make some repairs before continuing on the race. Other crew members have been hurt catching fingers in winches etc. amongst other things.......................and now lead boat Telefonica Blue crashed into some floating object which has taken a chunk out of their bow. This is what Bouwe Bekking (Telefonica Skipper) had to say earlier this morning:
''We had a collision with an object and there is chunk out of our bow. Luckily it is in our so-called ‘crashbow’, which is about 40 cm thick, and especially designed with this in mind. The real structural bow is further back, so we aren’t taking on water.
The other bad news is we are in a storm again, with gusts up to 45 knots. The main is lashed down to the boom, and we just have a small head sail up. The waves are even more confused than 48 hours ago, so we are taking it very easy - full survival mode again.
Daryl Wislang/NZL hurt his shoulder, and we put him in a bunk. Families: don't worry, he can make all movements, but we are just giving him rest. So that means two men down. I am getting a little better, but every word I type is a hassle, as I am sitting twisted, not good for my back at all. That’s it for now; we have another action night ahead of us. ''
Each boat has its story to tell. To read more on the race go onto the site www.volvooceanrace.org

No Wind.............Gale Force Wind

Well this weekend brought two extremes -as usual! Saturday was a big let down. A promise of some nice wind but just teasing. Was determined to go down and rigged the 6m but only got one good reach before the wind totally died.
Yesterday................overpowered with a 4m. And so the wind story in Malta goes on. Weeks of no wind then a gale. It makes it pretty difficult to practice this sport and I think everyone in the windsurfing community here is feeling the same way right now. No chance for improvement.


Am I feeling disheartened or what??


Well let's look on the bright side - the sun was out and today is a lovely day!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some nice Shots of Dwejra Waterfall Gozo


Pics by Gillian Martin
The above shots were sent to me by a friend who lives in Gozo. We don't get alot of rain out here so a site like this is quite unusual for us. This month we have had ALOT of rain so everywhere is very green with alot of water, pools and some little waterfalls too.

Allison Shreeve to do Bass Strait Crossing


Allsion Shreeve - pic taken off her website

Allison Shreeve, known for excelling in the disciplines of Formula Racing, RSX and Speed sailing, is this summer (summer in Oz that is) helping a good cause called ''Life On the Edge'' campaign. This campaign is to raise awareness about coastal care in Australia. Basically trying to get people to look after the magnificent Australian coastline. You can read more about this on www.lifeontheedge.org.au

Allison's contribution to this is to raise funds with her Bass Straits crossing. The Bass Straits is the rather treacherous stretch of water between Tasmania and Australia. She is hoping to break two records. One to be the first woman to do this and also to do this in record time.

She is planning her attempt sometime in early February. By doing this Allison also hopes to increase her exposure in order to try and find a sponsor for her 2012 Olympic bid. Unfortunately Allison just missed representing Australia at the Beijing games.




Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Blogging World



Sometimes people cannot understand why I waste so much time on my blog. My answer is always the same, which is the camaraderie one develops with people from all parts of the globe. Generally one interacts with the same group of bloggers who have a common interest. It is a fun way of sharing ideas, hobbies, information, help etc.


Then one day you receive a comment or message totally out of the blue. I have had a few people contacting me thru my blog asking for pics I took of them/their boats in the Middle Sea Race. It is very rewarding to be able to share any pics I have taken. Today was one of those days I got a message from a MSR Skipper who discovered a picture of his boat on my blog taken at the start of the 2008 Middle Sea Race. The yacht, above, is called ''Seawolf''' with the sponsorship logo of Iberian Seguros (if I'm not mistaken is a marine insurance company). ''Seawolf''' forms part of a fleet of yachts based in Gibraltar belonging to Atlantic Charters. They offer a wide variety of services which include yacht charter, various sailing courses, race training and mile building.
Meanwhile the wind is howling out there tonight and I am starting to get excited at the prospect of a good surf tomorrow!

Wind On the Way

It looks like a very promising weekend ahead with the wind starting to come in tonight with gale force winds from the North West. It looks like it will be shifting quite a bit between South West and North West. If it remains quite westerly would like to see if a group of us can up to the channel. Haven't sailed in the channel for years and would like to try it out after all this time again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Marcilio Brown Joins the Fanatic Team

Pic John Carter taken from Fanatic site



Well Fanatic have another brilliant member added to their team. You can read the full story on the Fantatic site http://www.fanatic.com/public/content/e533/e534/e7274/e7277/e7290/index_eng.html


Also Laure Treboux has done really well in the land of Oz down under. You can also see the full story of her glory on the site http://www.fanatic.com/public/content/e533/e534/e7274/e7277/e7310/index_eng.html



Meanwhile here in Malta I am sick and tired of all the wet weather we have been having. Longing for those lovely Spring days with a bit of sun and wind.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

John's Big Catch




John had a great day fishing yesterday. The perfect day - first really calm day after a very big storm, the sea was ultra calm and not a cloud in the sky and warm temperatures too.


John came home smiling from ear to hear (he still is!) after catching his first 13kg Acciola (Amberjack) and 3 kilo Dendici (hmm........Latin name I think is Dentex...........err.......and I think the Americans call it Snapper!).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gale Force Easterly/South Easterly Last Monday

Day after left overs - 2nd reef Mellieha Bay. Waves were over mast high most of the time.





John and Manwel boogy boarding the day after




Had hoped to blog this before now but have had some problems trying to put the small amount of video footage I have together..................so have basically given up trying!


Well, it was pretty wild Monday. By the afternoon it was blowing an average 40 knots and I noticed on a website after that it was gusting 50knots. I was using a 4m as were most of the guys and they were overpowered. I didn't even bother going out of the main break cos I knew I would just be tossed around all over the place, so I played around on the inside fighting the current and mush but still enjoyed it. After around 45 mins was feeling pretty tired so took some video in the water. Not quite sure which was more tiring - the windsurfing or just trying to stand up in the strong current snapping away!

The following day the wind turned and we got some rare conditions for Malta with the wind cross off against the waves. The waves all over the coast were really impressive just to look at. There were even waves breaking out on the Sikka l-Bajda which lies about a mile offshore. It is very rare for waves to break out there so I drove up to L-Ahrax and saw there were about 4 spots that waves were breaking - all around the shallowest area of the Sikka which is around 11/12m deep at the shallowest. Rigged up to go down but the wind suddenly died though John still went out struggling to get out to try and ride the waves back in. He got a couple of rides but at times he looked like he was moving backwards instead of forwards due to the strong current and lack of wind.

Long for a nice playful force 6! We don't seem to be getting many of those days any more - either a teasing wind or gale force survival! Next week is looking promising though.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ella Fleri Soler Finishes the Year in Style


Ella Fleri Soler - photo by Kurt Arrigo


Ella Fleri Soler ended 2008 and her Oppie sailing years on top by winning the Euromed International Championship in December. Ella now goes on to sailing a Laser 4.7 - a new challenge. The article below is taken from The Sunday Times of Malta.




Surprise is the most sensational factor in sport with victory won or lost faster than wind changes its course or even for the night to change into dawn.
Only a few weeks ago, I paid tribute to a young sailor who won the 2008 National Dinghy Championships, making it a back-to-back victory for he had also won the 2007 nationals.
The success in the Dinghy Championships, held only a few days before the staging of the 2008 Euromed Championships, was a psychological boost for 14-year-old Thomas Zammit Tabona who, having won the 2006 and 2007 editions of the Euromed, now had the chance to make it three wins in a row at international level.
Yet, every event has its story, and while foreign favourites, hailing from Russia, Great Britain, Italy and Northern Ireland, were in good number with the local 'no.1' being Zammit Tabona, the four-day championships turned out to be a striking and breathtaking triumph for 15-year-old Ella Fleri Soler (18 pts).
She clinched victory by a mere point at the expense of Maxim Nikolaev of Russia. Third place went to Alexander Shelting, another Russian, with 21 points with Zammit Tabona placing fourth with 29 points.
Hailing from a 'nautical oriented' family, daughter of the renowned windsurfer Jean Paul Fleri Soler, it was no surprise that Ella, not even 10-years-old, took up sailing joining the Malta Young Sailors Club (MYSC) where the Optimist dinghy has been her racing boat for the past five years.
"The first time I went sailing was with my dad and younger brother Edward. I was scared to death and never thought I'd continue. But by the summer I had started my beginners' course at the MYSC and I took off from then. Within a year-and-a-half I was promoted to the national team," Ella narrated.
In 2004, a few months after starting sailing, Ella had a taste of competitive racing - the Ramla Bay Regatta - which was definitely a good first experience for in five years of sailing she competed in many national local events as well as numerous overseas international events.
Amongst the competitions Ella has attended, there are three editions of the Island Games; in Crete (2005), Sicily (2006), where she also won two silver medals, and Corsica (2007).
Fleri Soler also raced in the Monaco GSSE 2007, where she achieved a silver medal, the Mediterranean Cup in Reggio Calabria in 2007 and 2008 where last year she finished eighth out of 50 sailors. She also sailed in the British National Championships in Wales (2008).
Before her latest triumph in the Euromeds, Ella took part in three previous editions of the event - in 2004 where she was first in the Optimist girl cadet class, in 2006, and 2007 where she was first in the Optimist girls class again.
Ella is very sad to be leaving the Optimist sailing team this year, but certainly it does not bring an end to her sailing career. She intends to start training on the Laser 4.7 - a larger boat for sailors between the ages of 16 and 18.
"I will definitely be back at the Euromeds next year to compete in the Laser class," promised Ella.
An international jury, made up of Lorenz Walch (Germany), Manuel Santos e Silva (Portugal) and under the chairmanship of Peter Valentino, ran the regatta. The jury was assisted by Jovin Rausi and Godwin Zammit. The Euromeds, staged in Mellieha Bay over a 4km course, was organised by the Malta Young Sailors Club in partnership with the Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport under the auspices of the Malta Sailing Federation.
Euromed results
Girls Open Class: 1. Ella Fleri Soler, 2. Abigail Fenech, 3. Svetlana Chekhova (Russia).
Laser 4.7 Class: 1. Anatoly Korshikov (Russia), 2. Alessandro Saladino (Italy), 3. Viatchesa Sheludyakov (Russia).
Laser Standard: 1. Zak Borg, 2. Benji Borg, 3. Jan Rossi.
Juniors Optimist Class: 1. Justin Busuttil, 2. Mikiel Abela, 3. Rose Banham (GB).
Cadet Class: 1. Ugo Pace (Italy), 2. Thomas Bonello Ghio, 3. Pavel Rasskazov (Russia).
Euromed winners
2000 Lisa Tait (Ireland); 2001 Ton Thorn (Sweden); 2002 Matthew Fleri Soler (Malta); 2003 Valentino Valacchi (Italy); 2004 Henrik Grim (Sweden); 2005 Okan Arin (Turkey); 2006 Thomas Zammit Tabona (Malta); 2007 Thomas Zammit Tabona (Malta); 2008 Ella Fleri Soler (Malta).


Friday, January 09, 2009

..............And So The Wind or No Wind Question Goes On!



Some small fish sheltering under some floating bamboo while snorkelling off the island of Nusa Penida, Indonesia






One of the outrigger sections of the boat we hired to go snorkelling in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia



On Nusa Lembongan (very small you can walk around it in a day) the main industry is seaweed farming. The seaweed is sold to the Japs for cosmetics.






Cocunut Beach, Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia







Coconut Beach, Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia






May aswell share some more holiday snaps since windsurfing has been out of the question this week. At one time I was on the verge of loading up the car but it soon fizzled out into nothing. Today looks kind of promising but not convinced. The forecast is saying it will increase to a strong Easterly on Sunday afternoon and be windy Monday and Tuesday. Forever optimistic!

Want to try and sort out my GoPro camera cos am having some problems with it. Would really like to use it if the wind increases cos have never done so in an Easterly. Bought another waterproof camera while in Singapore. It takes video and stills but it is completely handheld and no way of attaching it to a boom or helmet, but am looking forward to being able to stand in the water in the waves and take some footage. Very pleased with results so far. It is waterproof to one and a half metres so that is fine for floating around in the water taking shots.
It is a Sanyo and you can view it on this link
http://www.sanyo-dsc.com/english/products/vpc_ca8/index.html



Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wind or Not?

We have had alot of good forecasts over the past few months but on the whole they fizzle out into nothing. We had fairly good forecast last weekend which also fizzled into nothing. Now it's giving an Easterly for Thursday and Friday - not strong but hopefully sailable. Would really like to get wet seeing as I haven't touched a board since the end Nov/beginning Dec sometime. It has been quite good kiting weather (those kites certainly get more time on the water than we do) from what I heard while we were away. The wind just needs to 'up' a bit and I'll be happy.

Meanwhile here in Malta it is a mixture of lovely sunny periods followed by very wet days. Think we have seen more rain in the week we've been back here than we had during the entire 3 weeks in SE Asia - and it was meant to be the wet season there! Interesting to hear the locals talk about how the weather has changed that side of the world in the past few years. Seems to be as unpredictable as ours.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How About This For A Catch??


That's one big fish!
Above are pics of a friend with just one of the big fish he caught last weekend!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

SOME HOLIDAY SHOTS

SANUR BALI



SNORKELLING OFF PENIDA ISLAND NEAR BALI





RICE FIELDS BALI




PETRONAS TOWERS KUALA LUMPUR






VOLVO OCEAN RACE TEAM RUSSIA IN SINGAPORE. THEY HAVE ANNOUNCED THEY WILL NOT BE CONTINUING THE RACE BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT FUNDS.







Freak Hailstorm in Malta







A few days before we got back from our holiday Malta had a freak hailstorm and Valletta was the worst hit. Above are some pics a friend sent me - quite an amazing site for us Maltese to see this sort of thing at home!

Good Shots of Venice Under Water




Above are a couple of shots of Venice when they had the highest level of water for about 22 years beginning of December.

Friday, January 02, 2009

SOME GOOD SHOTS OF GALE FORCE WINDS BACK IN NOVEMBER








THE ABOVE SHOTS WERE TAKEN BACK IN NOVEMBER IN A GALE FORCE WESTERLY WE HAD. THE RIDER IS 'GAMBLU' AND PICS TAKEN BY AVID LOCAL WINDSURFER CHRIS SPITERI. LOCATION IS GHALLIS WHERE THE SHORE BREAK ON A DAY LIKE THIS IS, TO PUT IT MILDLY, A 'BIT' BIG BREAKING OVER RAZOR SHARP ROCKS - ONE SMALL MISTAKE OR NOT FAST ENOUGH TO GET OUT THE WATER AND YOU'RE BASICALLY MINCE MEAT!
SOME GREAT SHOTS CHRIS!



Thursday, January 01, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

A Happy New Year to all friends, fellow bloggers and my loyal followers!
Back home after our terrific trip to South East Asia. Got back yesterday afternoon and happy to say after a good night's sleep no jet lag!

Tomorrow will try and get some pics up of our trip but more importantly it looks like we are going to have some wind. Yahoo what a great welcome back home if we do. Infact the whole weekend is looking good. If we do get the wind then it surely will be a great start to the New Year! Meanwhile Happy New Year!

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